WASHINGTON — A former Iowa state senator has pleaded guilty to hiding money received from Ron Paul’s presidential campaign in exchange for ending his support for Michele Bachmann, the Department of Justice announced on Wednesday.
Kent Sorenson was a supporter of Bachmann’s campaign in the 2012 primaries. He later switched his allegiance to Paul’s campaign, after Paul deputy campaign manager Dimitri Kesari wrote him a $25,000 check, the Associated Press reported. Sorenson eventually received $73,000 in payments that were linked to the campaign, an investigator found. Sorenson has now admitted taking the bribes, and pleaded guilty to one count of concealing federal campaign expenditures.
“According to a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Sorenson admitted that he had supported one campaign for the 2012 presidential election, but from October to December 2011, he met and secretly negotiated with a second political campaign to switch his support to that second campaign in exchange for concealed payments that amounted to $73,000,” the Department of Justice wrote in a release on Wednesday. “On Dec. 28, 2011, at a political event in Des Moines, Iowa, Sorenson publicly announced his switch of support and work from one candidate to the other.”
According to the DOJ, the payments came in monthly installments of $8,000 each, concealed by paying them out to a film production company before they made it to Sorenson.
The controversy over Sorenson’s switching sides and allegations of bribery led to several ugly incidents, including a former Paul staffer secretly recording and releasing a conversation with Paul’s 2012 campaign manager.